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Author Topic: A New AMS Thread  (Read 17664 times)  

Offline Cassie Leigh

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A New AMS Thread
« on: October 06, 2017, 11:30:24 AM »
So it was pointed out recently that the old AMS thread has become a bit unwieldy and I was wondering if it would make sense to start a new thread where we sort of summarize what we can agree on and then go from there.  I'll take a first shot at what I think is the general consensus from that other thread and then others can chime in on what I missed or got wrong and then we can go from here until we get all convoluted again.

- A successful ad should have about 1 click per thousand impressions (some have a better ratio and sometimes it can go as high as 1:2500 or so, but the higher you go the more likely the ad will stop running)
- The ads don't run on a straight highest bidder wins model. There's a performance and relevance aspect to which books are shown and which ads run that none of us really know the ins and outs of.
- The estimated sales amount reported on the AMS dashboard is the sale price of the book, not what you earn.
- This amount includes ebooks as well as paperbacks sold through KDP Print or CreateSpace. It does not include paperback sales if you're the one responsible for shipping them.
- The AMS dashboard does not account for KU borrows and does not show what you earn for pages read if a book is borrowed after someone clicks on the ad.
- Someone can click on an ad and come back to buy the book later and AMS will count that towards the ad. (This can be as much as 10-14 days later.)
- AMS will also count sales of related books (like book 1 in a series where the ad was for book 3) towards the ad's performance.
- People have had success with both Sponsored Product and Product Display ads and using both low- and high-bid strategies.
- In general, if you bid more you should see more impressions and better ad placement.
- Some have found that a low-bid ad that's allowed to sit for a month may ultimately start delivering impressions even if it doesn't do anything initially.
- For Sponsored Product ads, look to authors, book titles, and generic genre-appropriate keywords like "romance" for your keywords
- Competitive genres like romance or thriller will likely require higher bids than more niche areas like non-fiction
- Depending on the price of your book, you should see a sale for every ten to twenty clicks.
- While it's tempting to use the ACoS value to judge your ads, don't. There's enough of a delay between costs being reported on the AMS dashboards and sales being reported as well as the mix of ebook/print sales in the reported numbers that you can be easily misled by following this number.
- It's better to establish a baseline for your book's sales before you start running the ads and then look at sales reported on your KDP dashboard as well as CreateSpace sales reported while the ad is running. If you're in KU, compare your baseline rank to your rank once the ads are running to see if there are borrows that have happened as a result of the ad that haven't yet resulted in page reads.

Alright. That's a good start. What did I miss or get wrong?


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Offline Michele Brouder

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2017, 11:36:23 AM »
That's a real good start. I'm following.

Also I just read somewhere that with Product Display, you should 'set it and forget it' and that it could take some time before you see any clicks.

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Offline Jacob Stanley

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2017, 11:50:58 AM »
Pretty much everything you've said agrees with my past experience.

I would also add one inference I've made over the last several months that may (or may not) be true... It seems like new ads tend to get a boost when you first launch them, like a trial period I guess, but that doesn't hold true if you keep launching new ads for the same book repeatedly during a short period of time. There seems to be a diminishing returns thing going on there.

And if you let an ad rest, or stop advertising a particular book for several weeks, when you start advertising again it gets another chance to be brand new.

I've also found that it's a good general practice is to try to keep Amazon's best interests in mind with your ad. Basically, they like ads that make a profit for them. So if your ad is making tons of money for you, but you're using tiny bids and getting a bad CTR, you're probably taking up valuable carousel space, and Amazon will gradually phase your ad out. But that doesn't mean small bids can't work, you just need a good CTR. Sales conversions might even factor into it as well, but it's hard to be sure.

In a weird way, keeping an ad alive and thriving is almost like caring for a plant, and it seems like over time you're fighting against a tide that slowly pushes old ads down in favor of new ads, very similar to the way new release books gradually push older books further down in the charts.

For myself, I haven't been able to achieve anything truly consistent with AMS ads. I've had some ads that did great for a long stretch, others where I lost money. Right now I'm not running any at all, but overall I've made a small profit with my Amazon ads, and I'm getting better with them.

Sometimes I feel like the rules are constantly changing. I think Amazon are still tweaking the baseline algorithm for their ads, so trying to work out a reliable strategy is equivalent to shooting at a moving target.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 12:02:28 PM by Jacob Stanley »

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2017, 12:01:25 PM »
Thanks for summarizing results and starting a new thread.

What is your opinion of running AMS ads for more than one book in a series?

I've run an ad for book one since it launched last fall, and my CTR is not stellar. Around one click per 1500, and I have 1,000 keywords. I've run an ad consistently on book two since the launch this April, with 1000 keywords (for the most part not the same ones used for book one) and the click rate is about the same, but I get less sales attributed to this book. I recently started a new ad for book three, on preorder. Only 150 keywords so far, lol. No sales attributed to this ad yet, although my click rate is about one in 775. Maybe no one buys preorder books from relatively unknown authors via AMS? Am I wasting money running ads for all three books? With all these keywords at work, I hope to drive KU borrows if not a lot of sales.

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Offline vvcam

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2017, 12:06:02 PM »
I also read that your ad must comply with Amazons Book Ads Creative Acceptance Policies and it's better to pause than terminate an ad.

And...
  • If you get no impressions for your ad, check both the quantity and quality of your keywords
  • If you get impressions but no clicks, improve your ad copy
  • If you get clicks but no sales, improve your product page
  • If you get impressions and clicks but no sales, check your target audience and/or keywords.


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Offline Accord64

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2017, 12:08:12 PM »
- This amount includes ebooks as well as paperbacks sold through KDP Print or CreateSpace. It does not include paperback sales if you're the one responsible for shipping them.
- The AMS dashboard does not account for KU borrows and does not show what you earn for pages read if a book is borrowed after someone clicks on the ad.

Alright. That's a good start. What did I miss or get wrong?

Has anyone determined if audio-book sales are counted?
 

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 12:29:53 PM »
Also I just read somewhere that with Product Display, you should 'set it and forget it' and that it could take some time before you see any clicks.

I've heard this as well, but haven't experienced it. I'm impatient, so I keep upping my bids on PD ads until they start spending money.

It seems like new ads tend to get a boost when you first launch them, like a trial period I guess, but that doesn't hold true if you keep launching new ads for the same book repeatedly during a short period of time. There seems to be a diminishing returns thing going on there.

And if you let an ad rest, or stop advertising a particular book for several weeks, when you start advertising again it gets another chance to be brand new.


Agreed that new ads seem to have a period where they run without any judgement re: relevance or performance. And also agreed that if you let an ad rest it can sometimes come back to life and get many more impressions than it had been. And that seems to be on an ad-level not a book-level that that happens. For my romance novel I was running two ads for a long time so I could rest one of them while the other was running.

In a weird way, keeping an ad alive and thriving is almost like caring for a plant...

Sometimes I feel like the rules are constantly changing. I think Amazon are still tweaking the baseline algorithm for their ads, so trying to work out a reliable strategy is equivalent to shooting at a moving target.

I'm also of the ads need tending school of thought although I do know some people have done well leaving ads untouched. For the ones I've kept going the longest (15-months or more), I'd regularly add new keywords, pause non-performing ones, and change bids and budgets.

What is your opinion of running AMS ads for more than one book in a series?

I've done it. I think with my fantasy series that my third cover is the strongest, so I've run some lower bid, lower budget ads on that one not expecting it to be the main ad for the series. I've also run them on a standalone romance novel that's technically the second in the series. Both did fine. I do think Amazon doesn't catch all of the sales that result from those ads, but that's a pure guess.  And it's possible with a pre-order that they don't credit sales until the pre-order is done? Pure guess on that one, but I wouldn't watch the AMS dashboard to judge. I'd look at overall series sales instead.

One thing I do think has happened off of my ads a few times is that people have bought the entire series and AMS has only credited one of those sales to the ad.

...and it's better to pause than terminate an ad.

YES. This.

Has anyone determined if audio-book sales are counted?

I don't think they are. On my romance title my audiobook sales picked up while I was running AMS, but I never saw any sign that those sales were getting credited to the ads.


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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2017, 12:49:53 PM »


I don't think they are. On my romance title my audiobook sales picked up while I was running AMS, but I never saw any sign that those sales were getting credited to the ads.

I just restarted an ad and have only gotten audiobook sales from it. Those sales are definitely not showing up on my AMS dashboard. At least I assume they are coming from AMS because I've been running no other ads on this book and certainly not on the audio version.


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Offline DLBarton

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2017, 12:58:24 PM »
Is there a resource on how to produce a successful ad--maybe some examples? Thanks for this thread!

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Offline scaler

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2017, 05:56:58 PM »
Is there a resource on how to produce a successful ad--maybe some examples? Thanks for this thread!

Seconding this. Some screenshots of ads that have done well for people would be crazy useful.

Offline C. Gold

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2017, 06:34:32 PM »
I got a few books that cover AMS ads.

Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author's Guide by Brian D. Meeks
Learn Amazon Ads: Use AMS to Find More Readers and Sell More Books by Mark J Dawson
How to Sell Fiction on Kindle.... Michael Alvear
Make A Killing on Kindle... Michael Alvear

And I still think getting AMS ads working is a mystical process involving sacrificial offerings and full moons.  :o

Offline Christopher Bunn

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2017, 09:43:29 PM »
And I still think getting AMS ads working is a mystical process involving sacrificial offerings and full moons.  :o

Amen. Goats, virgins, smoking volcanoes. I'd recommend trying them all.

What are some of the best clicks-to-impressions anyone's heard? Is there such a beast as 1 click per 100 impressions?

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Offline Philip Gibson

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2017, 10:23:37 PM »
Excellent summary. I agree with nearly all but am not sure about this:


- AMS will also count sales of related books (like book 1 in a series where the ad was for book 3) towards the ad's performance.

I advertise Book 1.  Many customers buy all five books in the series, but I do not see this reflected on the AMS reporting, only in my KDP dashboard.

Philip

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2017, 05:57:07 AM »
Excellent summary. I agree with nearly all but am not sure about this:

I advertise Book 1.  Many customers buy all five books in the series, but I do not see this reflected on the AMS reporting, only in my KDP dashboard.

Philip

My theory on this one is that Amazon will count a single sale to the ad. I too have seen people buy the entire series and only had the one buy credited. But I do think they also count related book sales sometimes. With my two romance novels one is priced at $4.99 and the other is priced at $3.99 and I occasionally end up with a $3.99 sale credited to the ad for book 1 or a $4.99 sale credited to book 2. I think in the other thread someone mentioned that they had no sales on the book they were advertising but Amazon was showing a sale on the ad. That's when they reached out to Amazon and received the response about how Amazon credits related sales.


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Offline Philip Gibson

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2017, 07:58:44 AM »
What is with this "edition" keyword?

I've just started Cassie's book and notice she got a sale from the keyword "edition" .  So have I.  I think others have mentioned it, too.  I'd love to know how this comes about.  Cassie removed the keyword, as have I in the past, but maybe it's more worthwhile to keep it even though it's a head scratcher.  Same with other Amazon-suggested, but odd, keywords like "1 1".

When we set up keywords, Amazon sometimes lets apostrophes through.  Sometimes not.  I just had "now I'm reading" rejected twice, but when I submitted it as "now i'm reading" it went through.

Philip


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2017, 11:18:42 AM »
I figure the cover of my book still drew in potential customers even though the "edition" keyword had nothing to do with the book. Most of those bizarre keywords don't generate a lot of impressions for me, but this one had 4531 impressions by the time I shut it down and only that one click that also resulted in a sale. I personally don't like to keep any keyword going that doesn't generate at least one click per 2,500 impressions even if it's generated sales for me because I think there is a performance factor in which ads continue to run.


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Offline Philip Gibson

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2017, 01:23:32 PM »
I figure the cover of my book still drew in potential customers even though the "edition" keyword had nothing to do with the book. Most of those bizarre keywords don't generate a lot of impressions for me, but this one had 4531 impressions by the time I shut it down and only that one click that also resulted in a sale. I personally don't like to keep any keyword going that doesn't generate at least one click per 2,500 impressions even if it's generated sales for me because I think there is a performance factor in which ads continue to run.

I suspect odd, Amazon-suggested keywords, like edition and 11, are code for something  else.  Curious to know what.

What is your view of the method of running hundreds of ads at a time?  I know this is what Mark Dawson and Brian Meeks do, but to me it is too much to track since I like to get into and alter individual ads, often at the keyword level.  I currently have 23 ads running across 3 books.

Philip
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 01:27:04 PM by Philip Gibson »

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Offline R.E.Conary

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2017, 01:37:09 PM »
Im running an AMS Sponsored Products pre-order campaign for my Rachel Cord Mysteries collection. The campaign started Sept. 10 and runs through Oct. 15. The collection release date is Oct. 15 for regular purchase and for KU readers.

This is my first major AMS campaign. I tried it a couple times before (too timidly,  :-[ I admit) with little result. Because the collection will be available for KU, my goal is to maximize impressions (get seen as widely as possible). I think the majority of clicks Im getting are KU readers checking it out and, hopefully, theyll come back after the 15th.

Heres the results of the campaign as of Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with 1 week remaining:

Number of Impressions: 457,981

Number of clicks: 191 from 104 of 855 keywords with an average per click (ACPC) of $0.63.

Highest ACPC: $1.41  :o

Lowest ACPC: $0.11  :)

Highest # of Impressions is 46,038 for keyword series.

88 keywords have ZERO impressions; 7 are paused.

Highest # of clicks is 18 for keywords series and Steven King (a misspelling but defaults to all the Stephen King books. Which is good because the ACPC is a low $0.28, whereas keyword Stephen King is averaging $0.76 per click).

So far, there are 8 pre-order purchases.  8)

Ive just added another 105 keywords for 960 total.
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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2017, 02:25:17 PM »
Im running an AMS Sponsored Products pre-order campaign for my Rachel Cord Mysteries collection. The campaign started Sept. 10 and runs through Oct. 15. The collection release date is Oct. 15 for regular purchase and for KU readers.

This is my first major AMS campaign. I tried it a couple times before (too timidly,  :-[ I admit) with little result. Because the collection will be available for KU, my goal is to maximize impressions (get seen as widely as possible). I think the majority of clicks Im getting are KU readers checking it out and, hopefully, theyll come back after the 15th.

Heres the results of the campaign as of Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with 1 week remaining:

Number of Impressions: 457,981

Number of clicks: 191 from 104 of 855 keywords with an average per click (ACPC) of $0.63.

Highest ACPC: $1.41  :o

Lowest ACPC: $0.11  :)

Highest # of Impressions is 46,038 for keyword series.

88 keywords have ZERO impressions; 7 are paused.

Highest # of clicks is 18 for keywords series and Steven King (a misspelling but defaults to all the Stephen King books. Which is good because the ACPC is a low $0.28, whereas keyword Stephen King is averaging $0.76 per click).

So far, there are 8 pre-order purchases.  8)

Ive just added another 105 keywords for 960 total.

Thanks for sharing your data. I have an ad running on a preorder, with no sales showing on the dashboard after ten days, so I assume none of my preorders are attributable to AMS. In any case, I'm hoping as you are that KU borrowers are taking note.

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2017, 02:35:47 PM »
What is your view of the method of running hundreds of ads at a time?  I know this is what Mark Dawson and Brian Meeks do, but to me it is too much to track since I like to get into and alter individual ads, often at the keyword level.  I currently have 23 ads running across 3 books.

Clearly a number of people have had success with it. There's someone on this board who does that as well. I can't remember who right now, but they said they start five or so new ads a day. If you're doing Product Display ads there's no keyword tending that needs to be done the way I do for Sponsored Product ads.

I tend to run one ad per book. That's because there was a point in time when I tried running multiple Sponsored Product ads on books and they seemed to interfere with one another.  For my romance novel ads, which I finally turned off because I just rolled the books out of KU and that made them unprofitable, I had two ads that I'd run on that book, but never at the same time. I'd run ad A and if it wasn't generating sales that day, I'd pause it and run ad B. Of course, I was very fortunate with those ads, too. Between June and August those ads regularly spent somewhere around $25 a day. Occasionally I'd max out the budget on both ads and so they'd be running side-by-side early in the morning, but I didn't see a positive outcome when that happened.

I think most of the people who advocate multiple ads on a book are running Product Display ads, but I'm not 100% sure of that.


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Offline Philip Gibson

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2017, 03:35:18 PM »
I think most of the people who advocate multiple ads on a book are running Product Display ads, but I'm not 100% sure of that.

Makes sense. 

I'm half way going very slowly through your excellent AMS ads book and much appreciating it.  I have my own primitive manual system for evaluating ads' performance and only use Excel spreadsheets for downloading keywords and pasting them into new ads.  All the other columns and how to use the spreadsheets for analyses are a mystery to me.

Guess I need your Excel book too, but this bit in the book description makes me think it might be beyond me at the moment:

Quote
This guide will walk you through how to do that. It assumes you know the basics of using Excel already

I don't know the basics and only recently found the download button on my AMS dashboard.


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« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 03:45:20 PM by Philip Gibson »

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2017, 04:29:50 PM »
I'm half way going very slowly through your excellent AMS ads book and much appreciating it.  I have my own primitive manual system for evaluating ads' performance and only use Excel spreadsheets for downloading keywords and pasting them into new ads.  All the other columns and how to use the spreadsheets for analyses are a mystery to me.

Guess I need your Excel book too

Thanks! Glad you're enjoying the AMS book. And check you PMs about the Excel guide.


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Offline AlexaKang

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2017, 08:56:03 PM »
Thanks Cassie for starthing this new thread!

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2017, 05:08:29 AM »
Has anyone found a viable way of A/B testing different ad copy? The last time I tried running ads with the same keyword targets but different text, one got all the impressions, so there was no way of telling how the others would have performed in comparison (since no one saw them). I'm assuming they were competing against each other, but it's frustrating because if I use different keywords for each, there's no way of knowing whether differences in performance are due to the targeting or the ad copy. :P

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2017, 06:12:01 AM »
Meeks did A/B testing with Product Display-Interest ads. They don't compete with each other, supposedly.

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